Sempra Energy
Sempra headquarters in downtown San Diego. REUTERS/Mike Blake

San Diego-based Sempra reported a 30% decline in first-quarter earnings due to Aliso Canyon litigation and other one-time costs, but projected higher earnings as the year progresses.

The utility holding company, which is the parent of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas, reported earnings of $612 million, or $1.93 per share, compared to $874 million, or $2.87 per share. Revenue increased to $3.82 billion from $3.26 billion a year ago.

The company attributed the shortfall in earnings to costs associated with the Aliso Canyon gas leak, foreign currency fluctuations, commodity transactions and higher income tax payments. Without those items, the company had operating earnings of $924 million, or $2.91 per share.

The company noted in its report that natural gas costs, which are ultimately paid by customers, rose to $802 million from $349 million. The price of natural gas is currently at a 14-year high.

For all of 2022, the company increased its forecast of earnings per share to $7.71 from $7.11 and said 2023 earnings would be in the range of $8.60 to $9.20 per share.

“At Sempra, we understand the importance of energy security as a critical part of the transition to a lower-carbon future. That is why our investments in North American energy networks are designed to improve the safety and reliability of our services for the benefit of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, chairman and chief executive officer.

“As first quarter results demonstrate, our track record of operational excellence, commitment to safety and disciplined capital allocation creates the opportunity to deliver another strong year of financial performance,” he said.

Sempra stock closed Thursday at 161.12, down 3.39 amid a general selloff on Wall Street.

The company serves nearly 40 million customers, primarily in California, Texas and Mexico.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.